"Igniting the Flame"

USC Track & Field


old Trojan half miler  returns to Cromwell field

 “Igniting the Flame” by William M. Taylor

Growing up among Hollywood legends and Olympic athletes, Bill Taylor’s boyhood dream was to become a famous athlete. That dream was coming true when he ran national times and received a scholarship to USC, the top collegiate track team in the country. Anguish and tragedy, however, sent him on a different journey through the U.S. Marine Corps, the Presbyterian ministry, politics, psychoanalysis, existentialism, and historical travel, to find his fulfillment as a teacher and coach in Northern California. Since 1979, Bill has been mentoring student athletes, taking many of them with him on summer odysseys through Europe and the Middle East to better inform the beginning of their journeys.


Margaret Larrabee, widow of double 1964 Olympic gold medal winner, Mike Larrabee ---“Nobody I know can wring the best out of every phase of his life like Bill can and then tell you about it so well that you become as enthusiastic as he is.   His writings bring back to me the life of a world class athlete in a way no other writer has ever done.  Enjoy the read, it is terrific!

 Payton Jordan --- “Will be a barn-burner.  BILL TAYLOR, you are a man for all seasons and a man of ARETE.  You have taught and lived it; your life has enriched the lives of all those you have touched my cherished friend".

 Keith Connning, correspondent for “Track & Field News”, California prep track expert ---   “Bill Taylor--A Man For All Seasons.   He is one of the most brilliant track coaches I have ever met."

 Sid Wing -- “Bill was my mentor when I began running for USC.  His subtle yet sometimes intense encouragement to reach outside one's self-imposed ability was key to progress in my track-life, spanning over 50 years. That quality continues with his coaching of young athletes through this day.”

Bill's book also contains many anecdotes from USC world greats like Mel Patton, Max Truex, Mike Larrabee, Ron Morris, Jimmy Lea, Des Koch, Payton Jordan, Dean Cromwell, as well as stories about Wes Santee, Al Cantello, Mal Whitfield, Bob Richards, Bob Mathias, etc., that have never been in print before.

ORDER "IGNITE the FLAME" | contact Bill